Nearly 15 million seniors have diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes, according to an estimate by the American Diabetes Association. Even if your older loved one doesn’t have diabetes, age is a factor that increases the risk of developing issues with blood sugar management. Fortunately, there are some simple and effective ways to help your parent maintain healthy blood sugar.
Suggest Foods that Naturally Lower Blood Sugar
A tasty way to help your parent maintain healthy blood sugar is to steer him or her toward foods that naturally help with this goal. Many foods that fit into this category can also be easily incorporated into daily meals or existing diets. According to Medical News Today, this list includes:
• Whole wheat or pumpernickel bread
• Pineapples, melons, and similar fruits
• Sweet potatoes and yams
• Nuts and legumes
• Cod, haddock, pollock, and other cold-water fish
Consider hiring a professional caregiver if your loved one needs help preparing nutritious meals. If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior home care. Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives.
Make Small Lifestyle Changes Together
If your mom or dad isn’t too keen on receiving unsolicited advice, encourage him or her to make lifestyle changes by making adjustments together. This also prevents the “Why do I have to make changes and you don’t?” argument. Start small, though, so your parent doesn’t reject your suggestions or feel overwhelmed.
Encourage Relaxation & Stress Management
Stress and increased anxiety can also throw off blood sugar levels. Encourage your parent to be more relaxed and less stressed by suggesting some relaxation techniques you can try together to minimize this risk. Deep breathing, mindful meditation, and yoga are possibilities. Engaging in enjoyable activities can also ease stress and promote relaxation.
It’s essential for family caregivers to manage their own stress as well. In Boynton Beach, respite care is a great help to many families. Caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times, which puts family caregivers at risk for burnout. However, an in-home caregiver can take over your loved one’s care, allowing you the time you need to focus on your own health, maintain a full-time job, or care for other members of your family.
Come Up with an Exercise Plan
Exercise is a great way for seniors to maintain a healthy weight and balance blood sugar levels. Swimming, yoga, and walking are exercise options that tend to be gentler and safer but still effective. Be smart about when exercise is planned, too. Scheduling exercise about an hour before mealtimes can be beneficial, since glucose levels are often higher after eating.
Keep Track of Blood Sugar Levels
Talk to your parent’s doctor to determine if there are existing high or low blood sugar concerns you should be aware of. Should this be the case, help your mom or dad get into the habit of regularly tracking and monitoring his or her blood sugar. Many devices available today make this process easier by requiring only very small drops of blood and recording results for reference.
Be Prepared for Emergency Situations
If your loved one experiences sudden dizziness or disorientation, it may be a sign his or her blood sugar levels are too high or low. Be prepared for possible fluctuations when away from home with your parent by bringing supplies such as:
• A bottle of fresh drinking water
• Carb-rich snacks
• Glucose tablets
Be Aware of What Could Cause Blood Sugar Spikes
Another way to help your parent maintain healthy blood sugar is to be aware of possible sources of elevated levels. Potential culprits, according to the CDC, include:
• Lack of sufficient sleep
• Artificial sweeteners
Gum disease can also raise blood sugar levels, so be proactive about dental care for your parent. Additionally, be especially mindful of glucose levels later in the day, when levels tend to be higher.
If your loved one needs encouragement to adopt lifestyle habits that promote healthy blood sugar levels, a professional caregiver can be an ideal source of support. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care service. Boynton Beach families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet their elderly loved ones’ unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. For more information about our flexible, customizable home care plans, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (561) 740-6256.